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BBC Launches New Weather Format Using NZ Tech

BBC Launches New Weather Format Using NZ Technology

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService) today announced that its television weather graphics system, Weatherscape XT is being launched by the BBC.

Weatherscape XT will be used to automatically produce graphics and weather forecast animations used every day on the BBC's television broadcasts as well as their interactive television and internet services.

The BBC purchased Weatherscape XT in early 2004 and MetService developers have been customising and installing the software over the past 12 months.

MetService Chief Executive John Lumsden hailed the launch as the culmination of the company's largest television project ever, and one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

"Implementing a weather graphic system of this magnitude was a real challenge. There is a vast amount of rapidly updating data that needs to be processed, stored and made available for instant playback in live studio situations. Weatherscape XT provides this and also automates show production."

"We have had staff in the United Kingdom and New Zealand working in close partnership with the BBC over the last year to provide them with exactly what they were looking for"

"The BBC is a sophisticated client with exacting quality and creative requirements. We were pleased to be able to deliver to their standards in what is a complex and demanding television environment."

"Weatherscape XT really exploits advances in 3D graphics and animation techniques. That one of the world's leading broadcasters has chosen Weatherscape XT is a real endorsement of our people and their skills. The project meant our staff were working round the clock at times to meet their requirements, and the culmination of this project is a weather show that will both entertain and inform viewers in the United Kingdom and around the world, while providing the BBC with real flexibility and future proofing" Mr Lumsden said.

State Owned Enterprises' Minister Paul Swain congratulated MetService on the launch of its Weatherscape XT graphics package with the BBC. "This is a huge achievement for MetService and is further proof that New Zealand is a world leader in innovation".

"The BBC contract adds value to this already successful State Owned Enterprise, and will lead to greater dividends for its owners, the people of New Zealand".

Weatherscape XT was developed in-house by a MetService team of specialist software developers, including 3D animation experts, database developers and meteorologists. It offers cutting edge visual presentation of the weather and management of the associated weather data. It allows broadcasters in any country to easily adapt the weather show to best present the forecast situation in their own style.

New Zealand audiences will be familiar with a previous version of Weatherscape, which MetService developed with TVNZ for its weather show, and with Weatherscape XT currently broadcast on TV3.

Weatherscape XT is marketed internationally by MetService subsidiary,Metra Information Limited. Metra's General Manager - International, Paul Linton said "the graphics technology is cutting edge, and the product is reliable and flexible. Installed on high-end PC hardware it allows news producers to communicate with their audience in new and exciting ways. Information can be selected and presented rapidly, for a whole country or across a city block".

"Weatherscape XT is currently the leading product in the world television weather graphics market, and having a demanding international customer base, including the BBC, has meant all product, operational and management aspects of the business have been refined to an extremely high level."

Background Information Sheet About MetService MetService is a State-Owned Enterprise. The company gathers, analyses and provides weather information for the public of New Zealand, and for a wide range of domestic and overseas commercial customers. Metra is the international subsidiary of MetService. For more information on MetService visit;

Who is Metra Information Ltd Metra is the international and commercial subsidiary of Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd. Metra is ISO 9001 accredited and specialises in providing added value weather products and services to the international marketplace. Metra is based in Wellington, New Zealand and also has an office in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

What does Metra do? Metra has many years of experience supplying weather systems and data in the international television market. As well as the BBC, clients include stations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Metra is a respected weather brand in the international energy marketplace, providing site specific and customised weather forecasts to power companies and energy traders in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, USA and New Zealand. Metra also provides camera-ready panels to the print media in New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

What is Weatherscape XT? Weatherscape XT is Metra's latest generation computer based weather graphics system. It enables broadcasters to create and output computer derived weather animations and data for television broadcast, the internet or other applications. While doing this it also manages the delivery and dissemination of many types of rapidly changing weather data, making it available for instant retrieval or dissemination to other applications.

How are the weather shows created? Weather shows are created using Weatherscape XT's powerful range of graphical authoring tools. These tools allow graphical elements, created with standard studio applications, to combine with the weather data, enabling the presenter to create unique and powerful weather presentations.

How does Weatherscape XT work? Weatherscape XT can ingest and display many types of weather data from multiple sources. The weather data are continuously received and stored in Weatherscape XTs database. Once stored, the data is immediately available to Weatherscape XTs real-time graphics engine. Scenes pre-configured using the authoring tools are immediately populated with the latest data when they are opened and are available for immediate playout.

What does Weatherscape XT run on? Weatherscape XT uses high-end desk-top PCs that are equipped with powerful graphics accelerators.

Who developed the software? The software has been developed by Metra's team of software engineers and meteorologists, and builds on over 10 years of experience in delivering weather graphics systems to television stations around the world.

Where does Weatherscape XT obtain data from? Weather data typically comes from a meteorological agency of the broadcaster's choice. Metra also maintains a wide range of global weather data. A broadcaster can obtain a complete turn-key solution, including weather data and system from Metra.

Can Weatherscape XT incorporate graphics created on other systems? Wherever possible Weatherscape XT uses industry standard formats. Icons, backgrounds, banners, 3D models and other graphics can be created in applications such as Photoshop and Maya and can then be imported into Weatherscape XT.

How much does Weatherscape XT cost? There are many configuration options available for Weatherscape XT. Part of the service Metra offers is to work with each customer to determine how to implement the system to best meet their requirements and budgets.

For sample images and animations visit:

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